Eczema Care Basics - Caring for your baby or small child with eczema

Eczema Care Basics - Caring for your baby or small child with eczema

The following information is generously provided by Eczema Support Australia as part of the Quality Use of Medicines Alliance.

Why does my child have eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition that some people are born with, and the cause is unknown. What we do know is:

  • Genetics is one reason, as eczema seems to run in some families.
  • The immune system is overactive
  • The skin is not as protective and watertight as it should be.

It is important to understand that you could not stop your baby having eczema. But there are a lot of steps you can take to reduce the effect eczema has on your child.


What are 5 things I can do to help manage my child's eczema?

  1. Moisturise 
  2. Bathing 
  3. Minimise Triggers 
  4. Treat Flares
  5. Seek Help


Eczema can make skin feel dry, rough and itchy. Dry skin can lead to new flares or make eczema harder to manage. Moisturising all over, every day helps lock in the moisture and keep out things that make eczema worse.


You need to use lots of moisturiser on your child. Moisturise the whole body including face. Each week you should be using about:

  • 125g for a baby 
  • 250g for a child 
  • Teen/Adult 250g to 500g

You cannot over-moisturise your child's skin!

AVOID essential oils, aqueous creams with sodium laurel sulphate or products with benzalkonium chloride. These items may irritate or dry-out eczema-prone skin. Always check the ingredients list before using skincare products on your child. 


Wash your child in lukewarm water for less than 5 minutes once a day. Adding bath products isn’t necessary, but if you do make sure they are soap-free and do not contain synthetic fragrances.

Minimise Triggers

If acidic foods irritate your child’s skin on contact, try using  a protective ointment on the skin around the mouth before eating. This creates a skin barrier. Here are some more common triggers: 

  • Soaps, bubble baths, shampoos, fragranced washing powders and fabric softeners
  • Getting too hot
  • Prickly fabrics (wool) or synthetics (nylon)
  • Heavily chlorinated indoor pools and spas
  • Sand, carpet or grass
  • Dribbling, teething (babies)
  • Scratching

Treat Flares

When your child’s skin gets sore and itchy, it’s called a flare. Don’t worry! There are safe medicines called flare control treatments that can help. These are usually topical corticosteroid ointments and they’re safe to use, even for little babies and children. They can be very beneficial short term for getting inflamed skin under control. Remember to keep the skin well moisturised even during flares.

Seek Help

Eczema is a long-term skin condition that needs regular care, and you will need support for you and your child. While eczema cannot be cured, there are tools and support services to help you manage. Speak with your health professionals regularly and find more information through Eczema Support Australia; a support network for Australians living with or affected by eczema When to contact your health professional.

  • If your child’s eczema shows signs of infection, such as increased redness, feeling warm, looks crusty or is weeping.
  • If you and/or your child are struggling or exhausted
  • If your child’s eczema is not responding to the agreed treatment or is getting worse
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